ARC Review: Viper’s Daughter (Michelle Paver)

51638604._SX318_SY475_Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Zephyr
Publication Date: April 2nd 2020
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 238

Blurb from Goodreads:

A boy. A wolf. The legend lives on.

Viper’s Daughter is the seventh book in the award-winning series that began with Wolf Brother, selling over 3 million copies in 36 territories. Like them it can be read as a standalone story.

For two summers Torak and Renn have been living in the Forest with their faithful pack-brother, Wolf. But their happiness is shattered when Renn realizes Torak is in danger – and she’s the threat.

When she mysteriously disappears, Torak and Wolf brave the Far North to find her. At the mercy of the Sea Mother and haunted by ravenous ice bears, their quest leads them to the Edge of the World. There they must face an enemy more evil than any they’ve encountered.

Viper’s Daughter plunges you back into the Stone-Age world of Torak, Renn and Wolf: a world of demons, Hidden People and exhilarating adventure which has entranced millions of readers.


RATING

2 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I didn’t know where to start about this book. While reading, I just lost my whole interest to read this. Firstly, Viper’s Daughter was the seventh book of the series called Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. Therefore, I couldn’t understand anything about the characters and plot line from this book. Even though the book said that it could be read as a standalone, it was hard for me to comprehend and follow the flow of this story. 

I ditched this book last November because I couldn’t force myself to continue reading something that I couldn’t understand at all. However, I tried to continue and understand the remaining of the chapters because I wouldn’t want to miss this moment to read and review this. But, nothing of the book’s content changed my initial perspective towards this book. If I have read the previous books in the series before, there would be a chance that I would probably enjoy Viper’s Daughter better. The only thing that I could comment was the writing. The writing was okay and understandable, suitable for middle grade and adult audiences.

2020 has not been my best reading year so I am hoping to read more quality reads for the remaining months.

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Sabrina

ARC Review: The Vanishing Trick (Jenni Spangler)

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Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
Publication Date: April 30th 2020
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 294

Blurb from Goodreads:

Step into a world of secrets, folklore and illusions, where nothing is as it seems and magic is at play…

Madame Augustina Pinchbeck, travels the country conjuring the spirits of dearly departed loved ones… for a price. Whilst her ability to contact ghosts is a game of smoke and mirrors, there is real magic behind her tricks too – if you know where to look.

Through a magical trade, she persuades children to part with precious objects, promising to use her powers to help them. But Pinchbeck is a deceiver, instead turning their items into enchanted Cabinets that bind the children to her and into which she can vanish and summon them at will.

When Pinchbeck captures orphan Leander, events are set into motion that see him and his new friends Charlotte and Felix, in a race against time to break Pinchbeck’s spell, before one of them vanishes forever…


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW

Middle grade books are always easy to read and comprehend! The Vanishing Trick is one of them.

Once I read the first sentence of the book, I could tell that the story was interesting. The three main characters, Leander, Charlotte and Felix were very distinct from one another as they both have different background.

I truly appreciate that there were three POV in the story as some books tend to have only one POV and that made the story to be two-dimensional. The children were tricked by Pinchbeck because they thought she was their savior and she would give them shelter and food in exchange of their behavior. It was sad that these kids were cheated by the villain because all children pretty much rely on adult for emotional connection to live.

The Vanishing Trick revolved around bravery and friendship. It was admirable that they risked their lives to protect one another in order to defeat Pinchbeck.

Thank you Pansing Books for sending me the ARC for The Vanishing Trick in exchange of an honest review.

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Sabrina

 

ARC Review: The Highland Falcon Thief (M.G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman)

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Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: January 30th 2020
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 238

Blurb from Goodreads:

Harrison Beck is reluctantly joining his travel-writer Uncle Nat for the last journey of the royal train, The Highland Falcon. But as the train makes its way to Scotland, a priceless brooch goes missing, and things suddenly get a lot more interesting. As suspicions and accusations run high among the passengers, Harrison begins to investigate and uncovers a few surprises along the way. Can he solve the mystery of the jewel thief and catch the culprit before they reach the end of the line?


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

The Highland Falcon Thief is the first book of the Adventures on Trains’ series.

This was such a fun read! I didn’t have enough luck with middle grade stories so far this year, so reading The Highland Falcon Thief was such a surprise for me. I read this just within hours, just to tell how enjoyable this book was.

I went into this book with such low expectations because middle grade stories could be a little be repetitive and predictive, but this totally caught me off guard. The Highland Falcon Thief didn’t disappoint me at all.

The story was so interesting that it glued me to the book. I was pretty much hooked from the first page. I always have some kind of fascination towards train and mysteries, and I was glad that this book offered us that.

I just love everything from the book, from the likable characters to its technical explanations on trains and the history behind it. I also love the relationship between Harrison and his uncle, Nat in this book where they were up for more action and adventure. It was also cool to read about his uncle’s job as a journalist who traveled around the world just to write books. Such a dream job. I love Lenny’s addition in this book and how it changed Harrison’s perspective towards life, that life is more than just playing video games, as he was an avid gamer before.

My favorite aspect from the book was the mystery part where the book kept us guessing from the start, about who was the prime suspect of the theft. Honestly, I couldn’t guess it from the start because the book kept on changing our view towards the characters thus I had a really hard time to pick the culprit behind the robbery. The closure was very unpredictable and I was impressed by the fact that these two children were able to unravel the mystery.

Although the book was written by two authors, M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman, I couldn’t even tell the difference between their writing style. It shows how they have taken the effort to merge their writing styles and systems together in order to write the book perfectly, without making each other’s writer distinct from one another.

I am excited to see what the next book will offer us. I expect that the next adventure to be outside England, as hinted at the last page of the book.

All in all, one of the best middle grade books so far this year.

Special thanks to Pansing Books for sending me The Highland Falcon Thief in exchange of an honest review.

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Sabrina

ARC Review: Evernight (Ross MacKenzie)

41723518._SY475_Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publisher: Anderson Press
Publication Date: February 6th 2020
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 342

Blurb from Goodreads:

Thousands of years ago, the Evernight came to the Silver Kingdom and turned everything to darkness and chaos. It was only defeated thanks to the skill and bravery of the Witches. But now the Evernight is about to return, released by the evil Mrs Hester, and the only spell that might stop it is lost, deep below the great city of King’s Haven.

Then orphan Larabelle Fox stumbles across a mysterious wooden box while treasure-hunting in the city’s sewers. Little does she realise she is about to be catapulted into an adventure, facing wild magic and mortal danger – and a man who casts no shadow . . .


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

Once I started reading Evernight, I could not stop. I was just pretty much engrossed to the world-building and magic system of Evernight that I kept reading more.

Unfortunately, the story felt very flat. I really hoped that I loved this book as much as other people did, but I was not as invested into the story that much. I understood the story, but I felt like it was just mediocre and nothing special. I think that I really should stop reading middle grade fantasy for a while because I am just not feeling it. I rather just read young adult and adult fiction nowadays.

This is not a standalone, apparently Evernight is the first book to a new spellbinding series. When the second book comes out, I will surely give that book a try.

Thank you Pansing Books for sending Evernight in exchange of an honest review.

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Sabrina

ARC Review: Tiger Heart (Penny Chrimes)

48464386._SY475_Genre: Children
Publisher:
Orion Children’s Books
Expected Publication Date: January 9th 2020
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 240

Blurb from Goodreads:

One magical friendship. One roaring adventure.

The magical tale of a bold young chimney sweep and a remarkable tiger, a dangerously hypnotic ruby and a mystical land found across an ocean and through a storm. Perfect for fans of The Girl of Ink and Stars and Pax.

Fly never meant to end up in a cage with a man-eating tiger. And though she’s no princess, when the tiger bows to her, she can’t help vowing to free him and return him home.

But the bird-filled jungles and cloud-topped mountains of the tiger’s homeland are an ocean away. And not everyone wants the tiger to return.

With dark and dangerous forces working against them, will Fly be able to fulfil her promises, keep them both alive and – just maybe – become the queen her tiger knows her to be?


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I’ve read Tiger Heart in just two days and this premise is quite interesting.

It is a lovely story about an adventure of a young girl, Fly and a tiger called Tiger. I like both of them as a character, Fly is a brave young girl and she strives to do the right thing, even when her father doesn’t. Tiger, on the other hand is a faithful friend to Fly who does anything to keep Fly safe.

I admire Fly because of her strength and courage to send these animals back to their original habitat. Even when she is abused by her master, Black Bill, she portrays such kindness towards the other animals and she does not intend any harm towards the animals at all.

The whole time I read this book I feel so compelled to continue this story because I enjoy the magical and adventure feel that the book has. I am always excited to read what Fly and her friends can offer to us. However, I have to admit that the last chapter ends a bit abruptly and I wish that the characters such as Fly’s dad and uncle’s characterization are well-fleshed out.

Overall, Tiger Heart is quite an enjoyable book for middle grade lovers to read.

Special thanks to Pansing Books for sending me Tiger Hearts in exchange of an honest review.

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Sabrina

ARC Review: The Threads of Magic (Alison Croggon)

35225815._SY475_Genre: Children
Publisher:
Walker Books Ltd
Expected Publication Date: March 5th 2020
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 379

Blurb from Goodreads:

An atmospheric and riveting fantasy adventure, perfect for fans of Frances Hardinge and Cornelia Funke.

Pip lives on his wits in the city of Clarel. When he pickpockets the wrong man, he finds himself in possession of a strange object – a heart in a silver casket. What’s more, the heart seems to be trying to communicate with Pip, and the royal officials who lost it will stop at nothing to get it back. Pip has unwittingly broken an ancient spell, and his theft will have far-reaching consequences for the whole city. As the ancient war between the Spectres and witches of Clarel reignites, the heart prepares to seek revenge for all it has suffered… Alison Croggon conjures a rich, immersive world with brilliant and memorable characters in this captivating story of loyalty, courage and friendship.


RATING

2.5 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I picked this book up because of the quite interesting blurb. Unfortunately, the story was not that interesting.

I expected a fast and engaging read but I took almost two weeks to finish this and I really had to force myself to continue reading it.

While reading I didn’t have a clear perspective on the story. Basically, I was just lost during the entire time. I didn’t relate to the any of the characters that much and I didn’t even get to grasp the basic plot of the story line. Nothing extraordinary really happened in the book. All I know was that the story only occurred at small and dark lanes of streets of Clarel.

I really wish I could enjoy this book but sorry to say, this book was just underwhelming.

Special thanks to Pansing Books for sending this ARC in exchange of a honest review.

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Sabrina

ARC Review: Orla and the Serpent’s Curse (C.J. Haslam)

9781406388480Genre: Children
Publisher:
Walker Books Ltd
Publication Date: April 2nd 2020
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 304

Synopsis:

A spooky adventure set in Cornwall; Famous Five with a twist.

A long-dead Cornish witch to thwart and a curse to stop – it’s just another family holiday. Orla thought she was in for a relaxing break, but when she finds a mysterious glowing necklace in the woods, it turns out there is a slight possibility she may have uncovered a witch’s ancient curse. After meeting a coven of suspicious old ladies, it becomes clear that Orla’s arrival in Cornwall is no longer a coincidence. The curse is poisoning the land and destroying everything it touches, and Orla is the one person who can stop it. But she’ll need help from the only other member of the family with good instincts – Dave the dog.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I have just finished reading my first read of 2019, which was Orla and the Serpent’s Curse. It’s just wonderful that I got to spend my new year’s eve reading this middle grade book because reading it was just so effortless.

I’ve never read anything by C.J. Haslam and for your information, this book was his first attempt in writing middle grade. I must say that the author did a decent job in writing a fine story with a likable cast of characters.

The pacing of the story at the beginning was just as great but unfortunately the middle to the end chapters were slow-paced with too much characters being introduced and thrown to us. The many names and magic system made me unclear because the back story was kinda confusing at points.

The only character that really stood out to me was Dave the dog. He’s so loyal to Orla and brave in facing adventure and dangerous tasks to help Orla and her team.

If you enjoy reading middle grade with some spooky adventure, then this book is for you.

Thank you Pansing Books for sending me this ARC in exchange of an honest review.

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Sabrina

Review: Tunnel of Bones (Victoria Schwab)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I am so excited to know that there will be a second book in this Cassidy Blake series. I love reading middle grade books and if there is a pinch of paranormal inside of the story, I would be definitely sold!

Here’s my review for City of Ghosts. 

This time around, Cassidy is on a mission to hunt down ghost stories in Paris, France, where it is known to be a heaven of fashion and a scene of love among tourists. However, we do not know that underneath Paris, there is a creepy catacomb that places millions of dead bodies turned into a tunnel of bones.

Paris plays a wonderful backdrop to this ghost story. I love reading about the scenery, people, food and most importantly about the places. Cassidy and her family travel to many landmarks in Paris to explore the history of the place and ghost stories behind it and it is so interesting to see how the stories unravel. I love the juxtaposition on how Victoria can turn this fashion city into such a haunted place that is so terrifying to even visit.

I also love Cassidy’s friendship with her ghost friend, Jacob. Their friendship are honestly hashtag goals because they are always be there for each other. Even though they are very different in terms of personality, but the difference makes the relationship even stronger.

I cannot wait to see what city Victoria is going to write about in the next book and I know that it will not disappoint us all.

X

Sabrina

 

ARC Review: In the Key of Code (Aimee Lucido)

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Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: September 24th 2019
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 416

Blurb from Goodreads:

In this innovative middle grade novel, coding and music take center stage as new girl Emmy tries to find her place in a new school. Perfect for fans of GIRLS WHO CODE series and THE CROSSOVER.

 

 


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This book is such a fast and fun read! I read it just within a day and I cannot stop reading it because the story is captivating! I also love reading books with verses, so it is totally a plus point. Even though books with verses are short, they are enjoyable and meaningful enough to read. This is a book that you can read in one go.

Once I laid my eyes on the synopsis, I totally wanted to pick this up. I love reading and also learning new things. Since this book revolves around rare stuffs discussed in YA/children like coding, poetry and music, this is a must read. I have never come across books which have many subject combinations like this one. If I were given a chance to turn back time to change my course in school, I would definitely choose computer science because the subject is interesting to learn. To be honest whilst reading I was confused with the terms related to coding and music because it is new knowledge for me, I cannot help but feel interested to learn and research more about this area of study.

Not only the subject captivates me, I also love for the fact that Emmy is a wise and genuine person. She loves music so much that she relates everything in her life to music. I love her bravery to try out new things such as coding because not everyone is willing to change or add new interests. The message here is you can always find the things you love in unexpected places. Discovering what’s best for you may take time and it is okay to keep trying to find what’s best for you. Besides, the book tells us about the meaning of friendship, when everyone is trying to fit in just to please others. The book also revolves around family, which is one of my most favorite themes in books.

Aimee Lucido is such a genius to combine very distinct subjects into one book and write them wonderfully. I totally recommend you guys to check this book out when it is available in book stores.

Thank you Pansing Books for providing me this ARC!

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Sabrina

Review: The Good Thieves (Katherine Rundell)

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Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Book
Publication Date: June 13th 2019
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 336

Blurb from Goodreads:

When the letters first arrived from her beloved grandfather—the shaking, green-inked letters, full of bewildered anger at the loss of his ancestral home and the priceless jewels within it—Vita and her mother took the next boat to New York. And now that she’s here, Vita has only one goal: To break into Hudson Hall and steal back what the sinister Basil Sowotore took from her family.

But to do so, she needs a plan, a weapon, and faith in the pickpockets, trapeze-artists, and animal-tamers she has met along the way. With her troupe behind her, Vita attempts the most daring heist the city has ever seen. But will she succeed?


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

The Good Thieves is a story about a young girl who would do anything in her power to right the wrongs, with her supportive friends to support her along the journey.

This story delves into the complexity of the society when the powerful rich exploits the poor and what happens when the youngsters take part in sorting the problem. I find myself very inspired by Vita’s courage to help her grandfather in taking back his property from the evil millionaire. This is not something an average kid can do.

Some parts of the story are dull and boring, I am not sure because of the writing or I was just uninterested with it. Fortunately after reading about 100 pages long, I can slowly follow the pace of the story as the author introduces new characters and challenges faced by them. I wish that the author can write better in terms of characterization and character development because for example, Vita has so much potential to be a very endearing character but in this book, she is just mediocre. I love her spirit to selflessly help others, but that’s not enough. That does not mean I don’t appreciate the characters. They truly inspire me to be bold and brave in facing adventures.

I may not love this book, but I am glad to read any of Katherine’s masterpieces in the future.

Thank you Pansing Books for sending me a copy of The Good Thieves in exchange for an honest review.

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Sabrina